Hopes and smiles at the Healing and Wellness Fair

SIX NATIONS – From delicious food and psychic readings to vendors of many backgrounds, the Healing and Wellness Fair held at the Everlasting Tree School on Saturday, December 10 brought together supportive community members and the general public.

Unlike most schools the Everlasting Tree School is unique in its approach to fundraising as much as it is unique in its need for fundraising. The school purchases supplies and equipment solely with funding that is raised through grants and donations.

Young students pose holding decorative pieces they hand crafted to use as centre pieces during the fair and healing salve they made themselves. Photo by Chezney Martin

Everlasting Tree School co-founder Amy Bomberry helped to thoughtfully organize the fair to both fundraise for the school as well as to benefit local community healing and wellness businesses.

“We try to have all of our fundraisers in alignment with the philosophy of our school, but also as Haudenosaunee people,” said Bomberry. “The idea came about as we’re always looking for new and different fundraisers and things that support what we’re doing, and things that are going to benefit the community.”

But, making the fair health community-based served a broader purpose.

“There are so many people going through so many different things within our own community, so we thought that [this fair] would be a great way to bring these services together to help people, and help the school and what we’re doing,” she said. “It’s giving back but it’s also taking care of us too.”

It is also the background of the school that brings forward a calming and nurturing effect on visitors, because as Bomberry says the entire philosophy of the school is unique in comparison to any other elementary school on Six Nations.

“This school is based on a holistic model, it supports the body mind and spirit of the kids to nurture their spirit and their gifts,” she said, adding that the school is much like a branch of Waldorf schooling.

“We try to keep everything in alignment with the foods that we eat and serve, because we have a nutrition program,” she said. “So, the foods are like organic or the food we grow or from local people; we’re trying to teach the kids to work towards being self-sustainable. You know, back to who we were as Haudenosaunee people.”

Mohawk Language Teacher Stacy Hill explained that it is prime time to give back since the Truth and Reconciliation Commission brought forth the calls to action — a reason why people should want to support a school like this.

“I work for the Grand Erie School Board and that’s all we talk about is the TRC and those calls to action, and a lot of our people look at that as profound I guess because the calls to action really call to Canadians,” said Hill. “Kind of like this isn’t an indigenous problem, this is a Canadian problem and reconciliation is on [the Canadian’s] shoulders. But for our own people too, [it’s a way to feel connected again].”

“Why should people support this school? Because this school is making change. This school is cutting away from that colonialist system and doing something that’s much truer to our Onkwehon:we teachings and who we are as Haudenosaunee people,” she said.

The school will host another event for the Spring Equinox, so don’t miss out on a chance to support.

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